Donors to the Center for Cardiovascular Analytics, Research + Data Science (CARDS) are spreading lifesaving innovations around the world.
Dr. Kirker, pictured above with research donors Ed and Katie Foehl, suggested a rarely used technique, replacing the valve via a carotid artery in the patient's neck instead of a femoral artery in her groin. "Most people were reluctant to try that approach, because they were concerned about obstructing blood flow to the brain," said Dr. Kirker. "But we do vascular surgery on the carotid all the time, so I was confident we could make it work."
"Donors to CARDS exponentially increase the lives we save."
- Dr. Eric Kirker
The procedure did work. Instead of hospice, in a few days the patient went back to work.
Dr. Kirker has now completed 150 valve replacements using the carotid approach, more than anyone else in the U.S. Perhaps more importantly, thanks to donor support for CARDS, he has published multiple papers and abstracts on the technique and made presentations at conferences around the country.
"It's now the fastest growing option for transcatheter valve replacement," said the surgeon. "CARDS made that happen by helping me publish. If I don't publish, I help one patient at a time. If I do publish, others can help thousands of patients. Donors to CARDS exponentially increase the lives we save."